Around the NL East: Adam LaRoche Extended, Mets Scraping the Barrel for Pitching

Patrick McDermott

And just like that a notable move happened in the division; as the days are now getting longer, so must the buzzing of an upcoming season.

Welcome back to the basement.

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Adam LaRoche returning to Washington for at least two more years - Nats Insider
Despite the fact that he really wanted to get a three-year deal, pretty much no team was going to give him the third year, and forfeit their first round draft pick in the process. The Nationals will retain the services of Roachy for at least two more years at a guaranteed $24M, with an option for 2015 valued at $15M or a $5.5M buyout. As a Braves fan, I'm glad to see Roachy get paid, and it doesn't bother me that he's staying in the division; as great of a season as he had in 2012, as has been the case for his entire career, he has not fared well against the Braves.

Obviously this means Mike Morse is probably as good as gone - Nationals Journal
With Denard Span pushing Bryce Harper from center to left, and LaRoche cementing down first base, this means that Mike Morse has no position to play anymore. There are jokes about how the 6'5 250 lb. Morse was somehow a shortstop prospect at one time, but in all seriousness, Morse is now available, and every team knows the situation and that the Nats don't have as much leverage as they would probably want for him. Morse himself is very much aware, and the social media blabbermouth is going radio silent for a little bit as a result.

Why move Morse? - MASN
For starters, I'm pretty sure the Nationals don't want to have a guy making $6.5M sitting on the bench doing nothing but pinch hits or for... what would be the term used to describe the opposite of a defensive replacement? Because that's what Mike Morse would be if he were not moved, an expensive bench bat. The Nationals have done this before when they had the $8M making Cristian Guzman sitting on the bench a few years ago, and I doubt they want to be doing it again with Morse when he could be used to get a left-handed reliever. Oh yeah, and they have Tyler Moore, a power-hitting, right-handed bat like Morse, who can play LF-1B too, but is a pre-arb salary.

Which GM Mike Rizzo insists is not a priority despite them trying so hard and failing to get another lefty reliever - Nationals Journal
Everyone knows by now that Rizzo loves to use media subterfuge to try and manipulate player value, which is probably exactly what he's doing in an interview like this where he claims that the Nationals don't really need another lefty reliever, and that Zack Duke and Bill Bray are sufficient enough to start the season with. lol.

Further justified by Nats picking up a bunch of lefty jobbers - Nats Insider
Since the Nats "don't need" any left-handed pitchers, it's exactly why they picked up Ross Ohlendorf and Sean West on minor league deals, hoping to perhaps catch some lightning in a bottle.

A convenient time to do a "Nationals are smarter than the Redskins" article - Nats Insider
Clearly, because the Nationals refused to listen to Stephen Strasburg and shut him down, they're smarter than their fellow D.C. sports club, the Redskins, whom allowed the savior RGIII to continue playing on a gimp knee, much to disastrous results. Convenient timing, but both teams still choked in the end.

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R.A. Dickey thankful the Mets traded him to Toronto - NY Post
One part is obviously ear candy to his new team, and wasting no time at trying to get into the good graces of Toronto. But the other part has to be very much legitimate, since the Jays have already signed him to a three-year, $30M deal, which would be paid out in Canadian dollars, which are ironically still slightly stronger than the USD. Sure, the taxes are egregiously high, but Dickey doesn't strike me as someone with extravagant needs. But also, due to the fact that Dickey joins a team that has acquired a boatload of talent, and is clearly a potential contender, even in the AL East.

Alex Anthopoulos takes opportunity to take shots at Mets - NY Daily News
The Jays' GM didn't waste much time in voicing his opinion in thinking that the Mets were disrespectful to Dickey for how they dealt with him during negotiations. I have to disagree, considering the financial constraints the Mets have been operating with, and it's not like they didn't try, it's just numbers failed to agree on both sides. It happens, and doesn't have anything to do with respect.

No pressure or anything - MetsBlog

"Believe me, after spending time with d’Arnaud and those close to him, this kid is a keeper in every way, along the lines of a David Wright,"

Said a NY Post writer in regards to recent trade acquisition, Travis d'Arnaud. He's highly touted and has been for the better part of the last three years, but he still hasn't played a game in the big leagues yet.

Jonathon Niese doesn't need open heart surgery after all - AA
It doesn't matter who you are, hearing the words "You don't need open heart surgery after all" is always a good thing to hear, and especially good for Niese, who was thought to possibly needing it due to an irregular heart beat.

Mets would "love" to trade Johan Santana - MetsBlog
And they would apparently be willing to help pay for the remaining $31M that he's owed, but apparently, there really hasn't been much interest, considering the injury history and the fact that help included, it still wouldn't be close to a free acquisition.

But you know who would be? Jair Jurrjens - Mets 360 (h/t MetsBlog)
Considering the Mets' MO during reconstruction days is searching for broken down cars and trying to fix them up, Jair Jurrjens fits that description almost succinctly since being non-tendered by the Braves back in late-November. I wish Jurrjens the best and all, but let's not kid ourselves; the Braves typically hold onto reclamation projects a year too long routinely, as evidenced by the concerns over Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, and both are gone now. Jair is coming off a season with shoulder woes, and a knee that he hasn't been able to trust in two years now.

Speaking of former Braves pitchers - MetsBlog
The Nationals weren't the only team scouting Javier Vazquez down in Puerto Rico, because apparently the Mets were looking too. Also oddly enough, so were the Braves. Regardless, Vazquez himself is playing patsy again, and claiming that he's not entirely interested in playing in MLB again; if I had to guess, he's trying to do what Roger Clemens did for a few years, where he's flip flop around and then come back mid-season at an inflated pro-rated deal and attempt to be some sort of savior, but maybe without the God complex.

Alderson: Francisco is closer dot-dot-dot for now - NY Post
Anyone else remember this game? I do. Man, even though the Braves lost that game, I knew on the interwebs, Francisco would have hell to pay from us nerds. Alderson's comments pretty much say that Frank Francisco will close, that is, until and if the Mets can find someone better suited for the role.

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Cole Hamels' shoulder balky everybody panic - Phillies Nation
If it were truly not problematic, would it have made the news in the first place? Starting a program, stopping it, to start again, that doesn't sound like a good foundation for the recently lucratively-extended Cole Hamels... man, how much would it suck to have Cole Hamels starting off his big extension injured, like Ryan Howard?

Does it seem like this happens to a Phillies prospect every year? - Beerleaguer
Jonathan Singleton, one of the key components in the trade that moved Hunter Pence to the Giants, was busted for pot, and is going to miss the first 50 games of the season on suspension. Off the top of my head, the Phillies have had drug-related suspensions happen to them, pretty much every season I've been writing these columns.

Ruben Amaro says the Phillies are "going with what we've got" - Phillies Nation
As it pertains to outfielders, that is. That means an outfield of possibly would-be rookie Darin Ruf, Ben Revere and Domonic Brown. Playing the "if" game, if all those guys actually tapped into the potential and hype they were capable of playing at, it would be a pretty decent outfield.

But since we live in reality, Ruben Amaro renegs statement and keeps hoping the Phillies can get Scott Hairston to platoon with guys - Beerleaguer
But I would laugh for at least seven straight minutes if the Phillies made a trade for Vernon Wells or Alfonso Soriano.

Shane Victorino pulls no punches about how he wanted to come back to Philly - Phillies Zone
It's hard to feel bad for a guy who signed a three-year, $39M deal to go to Boston, but during a meet-and-greet in Philadelphia where the Shane Victorino Foundation still has a strong presence, he hammed it up for the kids there who still have fond memories of him being a Phillie.

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Wait nevermind, Javier Vazquez wants to come back to MLB in 2013 - Fish Stripes
But he made two things clear: only for a contender, and not the Miami Marlins. Sick burn. Ironically, considering Vazquez's track record in high-pressure games, I'm pretty sure most contenders more or less want him in AAA or making spot starts, while the Marlins would probably be starting him immediately.

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